In just a few short weeks, the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned from a minor worry into an overwhelming fear for many senior citizens in St. Louis.
That anxiety you may be feeling is understandable. For seniors, the mortality rate of the coronavirus ranges between eight to twenty percent depending on one’s age compared to 0.8 percent for the flu. Unlike the flu, there’s no vaccine for the disease.
The best place to hide out from the virus is right in your own home. By staying home and not accepting visitors, you significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus. If you do have to head out, it is important to follow the advice of local authorities and medical experts.
Why is the coronavirus so dangerous to older adults?
As we grow older, there are two factors that make us more susceptible to transmittable diseases. First, a chronic condition like diabetes and high blood pressure can exacerbate the effects of a viral infection. Twenty percent of patients with a chronic ailment will face a poor outcome after becoming infected with coronavirus. With 90 percent of seniors over age 75 managing at least one chronic issue, that number could grow even higher.
Second, our immune system weakens with every passing year. As it slowly wears down it is unable to fend off foreign invaders like it used to, making us more vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening infections.
Ways to stay safe in our new normal
When it comes to the spread of the coronavirus, you can’t be too careful when it comes to your health. It’s critical to put these suggestions into practice starting now:
- Wash your hands again and again. You should wash your hands with warm soap and water after using the restroom, if you spend time in a public place, and before you eat. A good rule of thumb is to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice in a row while washing to make sure you hit the CDC-recommended 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect whatever you can. Studies have found that the coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces, like stainless steel and plastic, for up to three days. Be sure to clean heavily used items regularly with an antibacterial spray or wipe – this includes doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, phones, and computer keyboards.
- Isolate yourself from others. We know there’s nothing a grandparent loves more than spending time with the grandkids. But over the next few weeks, it’s important to interact with as few people as possible—including your favorite germ-prone kiddos. To avoid the loneliness that comes with self-isolation, be sure to spend plenty of time with friends and family on FaceTime, social media or a good old-fashioned telephone.
- Skip the trips. The CDC recommends six feet of distance between individuals to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, but that can be impossible in a crowded grocery store or doctor’s office. Ask a family member or friend to pick up groceries or medications for you and drop them off on your porch. Get food or other necessities delivered in. If you have an upcoming doctor’s appointment, ask your provider if you should come in or postpone.
- Be proactive outside the home. If you absolutely must leave your home, take every precaution necessary to protect your health. Make your appointments or go grocery shopping first thing in the morning. Dollar General, Fields Foods in St. Louis, and Schnucks, for instance, offer “senior shopping hours.” Wear a mask if possible and avoid contact with others. Be sure to perform proper cough and sneeze techniques and use hand sanitizer often.
How AccuCare is protecting the health of patients
If you or your loved one is currently receiving care from AccuCare Home Health Care in St. Louis, rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep our clients and employees healthy! We have reminded our employees to remain home and let us know if they feel unwell or if they are experiencing any symptoms. They will also immediately report to our office if any persons in their care are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness.
As always, our team members will practice good handwashing technique at the beginning and end of each shift, anytime there’s contact with a client or their personal items, and if they happen to touch their faces. They will use disposable gloves for direct client contact and practice good personal hygiene. To learn more about our coronavirus precautions or extra steps you can take, contact AccuCare today at 314-279-0010.